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  1. First of all, religious tests for office are unconstitutional http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Religious_Test_Clause and yes this applies to the states as well. Second, would you also be okay if a majority decided to put into legislation that white people or christians are unfit for office? I'm fairly sure these "tyranny of the majority" scenarios are why things like the bill of rights exist. Oh yes, the United States has a very rich history of discriminating and oppressing almost every single non-wasp group. However you do realize homosexuality used to be a crime right? And many laws criminalizing homosexual behavior did not start being repealed until the latter half of the 20th century, or even the early 21st with Lawrence V Texas. It is more than reasonable to offer this group of citizens some more explicit protection given the history. So would you be in favor of scrapping the language that gives explicit protection to people on the basis of race, gender and religion? I mean why have that if it just leaves the door open for other forms of discrimination? A common narrative in conservative circles, often used to justify actions and policies that give the outward appearance of government privileging one faith over other faiths or non-faith. You'll only see this argument made by people who would be in the comfortable dominant majority faith. It stems from a desire for religious privilege and dominance, not religious liberty. Thankfully many constitutional scholars and supreme court justices have interpreted the first amendment differently than you have. Only a government that is neutral regarding religion can safeguard the religious freedoms of all its citizens, and please don't give me that bull about secularism being a religion too. Do you really want the government endorsing one religion over others? I'm sure you don't mind if it's your religion, but what if it's not? Sure you can vote for religious reasons, go into government for religious reasons, be motivated by religion while in office etc. But I'm with supreme court justice Harry Blackmun on this Regardless, christianity is well represented (some stats show overrepresented) in U.S. government on both the federal and state level with a vast majority of representatives and officials being christian. It's part of the reason of why howls of christian persecution are mostly met with exasperated sighs and face palms by non-christians. If you're talking about same-sex unions, according to wikipedia hawaii was the first to legally recognize those in 1997, wich is not THAT long ago. To add to that DOMA created an unequal situation for a long time until it was struck down. It's actually a very simple freedom issue. Do you believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman? Then it is within your right to marry someone of the opposite sex and choose never to marry someone of the same sex. That's the end of it, that's where your influence ends you made a choice and it concerns only you. However you don't get to take away the choice of others to go into a same sex marriage with all the same benefits and social status. Things change, societies change, definitions change that's how its always goes. Let other people be free to make choices you yourself would not. regarding the meaning of the term "liberal" I've simply come to accept its new meaning in the U.S. as opposed to its more traditional use in Europe. So in this discussion when I say "liberal" I mean modern day "American liberal" Same goes the U.S. political spectrum, someone who is considered "centrist" in the U.S. may be considered right or at least right of center in Europe. The political compass does provide a nice standardized spectrum to put the U.S. in a wider perspective though. The U.S. left Unions have done a lot of good in the past, it's when they become too powerful they become counter productive, it's about balancing power. If employers have too much power over their labor force the result is lower wages and worse working conditions. Workers are also consumers, and if they don't have the means to consume plenty of goods and services, it hurts the economy. If unions have too much power and ask for too much employers will simply pack up shop and go elsewhere, also bad. It's about balance of power. I don't think the problem lies with taxes themselves, without taxes you can't really have a state and without a state you can't really have a well functioning market. I don't see companies rushing to set up shop in Somalia for instance. The problem lies with the ease capital can flow across the globe. Political power ends at the border, financial power does not. The financial powers are playing a 21st century game against political nation-state powers playing by a 19th century rule book. Which leads to tax competition. I suppose your solution is to aggressively slash taxes all across the globe until states can do little else but run a police force and a military, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves hoping charity will be there to catch them should they slip up. Myself I'd rather see the nations of the world work something out together to make it harder for them to be played out against each other by the ultra rich elite. Again it's so simple, against birth control? Don't use it. Don't impose that choice on other people. There are already plenty of religious exemptions for religious organizations and businesses. If you're the only pharmacy around for miles, don't use your position to make others involuntarily subject to your own personal religious prohibitions. So yeah I would support legislation to force them to have stuff like that on the shelves in certain situations. If they're not being forced to use it, their rights are not being violated. they're only prohibited from effectively imposing their own religious values on everyone else. This is moot of course if there is a store/pharmacy/hospital nearby that isn't under such religious prohibitions. If people are so concerned about spending, I don't see why a Republican would have their preference though. Republicans spend money, just on different things. The way I see it, Americans simply go back and forth between the two. If one party isn't producing an economic boom lets try the other one, if that one doesn't manage, back to the other one. And so it goes. These are getting long...so very long. I'll let you have the last word, I'm calling it quits for now
  2. Regarding guns, a lot of schools do really have absurd "zero-tolerance" policies enforced by administrators who are clearly completely insane. Here is a story about a boy being suspended for pointing his fingers like a gun. Here is a story of a boy being suspended for having an imaginary bow and arrow. And here is a story about a boy being suspended after threatening a classmate to unleash the power of the one ring. There are so many stories like this, I'm actually keeping a file on them. It's insane, I have no other word for it. Insane. It's not part of an anti-gun agenda, it's part of an extremely weird and insane anti-child agenda. Regarding christianity in school, like I said, school administrators sometimes get it in their heads no expression of religion is allowed at schools, mainly because of the many lawsuits brought against schools who go the other way and engage in some form of school-sanctioned proselytization by teachers or allowing only one specific religious group to come and distribute religious literature among students. Some schools violate the establishment clause, or the federal equal access act (by for example blocking gay or secular student clubs) and promptly get hit by a lawsuit to bring them back into compliance with the law, the result sadly is this makes other school administrators overreact. The good news is, you can hit them with a lawsuit too, can even get the ACLU to help like I demonstrated in my previous post. It shouldn't be necessary of course, but for some reason many schools appear to be run by complete idiots. Several states still have laws on the books barring the non-religious from holding public office http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination_against_atheists#United_States though of course if push came to shove, these would be unenforceable. While I'll take your word for it that there hasn't been any legislation making it a crime to hire lgbt people or non-theists for that matter, for a long time it was not prohibited to discriminate against them either. Though people enjoy explicit protection on the basis of their religion, race and gender, sexual orientation is often not included in non discrimination laws. This is not to say that in those states it's easy for an employer to fire someone who is gay, not at all. But making the protection as explicit as race, religion and gender is proving difficult in some areas. Other examples of christian privilege has been the routine use of government property to display christian symbols, messages etc. Often at the local level. And the howls of outrage and oppression when someone decides to have the courts rule on the constitutionality of such displays. The prohibition of same sex marriage is another example where a christian majority believes it has the right to decide for others who they can and can't marry. It's an arbitrary prohibition based soley on religious dogma. Giving people the choice to marry someone of the same gender has zero effect on anyone but the individuals choosing to marry. Yet the rhetoric coming out of the christian right has been one of terrible persecution and oppression because some people now have a choice they didn't have before. I'm not exaggerating. http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2015/02/07/wingnuts-christianity-is-going-to-be-outlawed/ 'Right' extremism has been greatly overstated by the media. (coincidentally, all major media except Fox is controlled by vocal or extremist anti-Republican pro-democrats) Let's not get into a debate over media echo chambers. That could go on for a while. I know, in Europe the term "liberal" is still closer to what it used to mean. Personally I feel the U.S. and the west in general are in a conservative wave right now, you linked the political compass before so I'll link it as well here. http://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2012 you'll see both Obama and Romney on the right-authoritarian end. Now of course they differed in some social issues but even when it comes to stuff like gay marriage, Obama only "evolved" on the issue once polls showed it would be politically safe or advantageous to do so. Here is Europe btw: http://www.politicalcompass.org/euchart you'll see them all comfortably nestled in the right authoritarian end. Now maybe the people who run this website are raging lefty socialists, but I've seen little evidence. On a few social issues the left is gaining ground, granted. On the other hand, unions are in decline, income inequality greatly on the rise, continued deregulation of industries and regulatory capture have met with little real voter opposition, even after major calamities. Firm opposition to any and all tax increases with the rise of the Tea Party. And let's not forget about the rise of the religious right, now powerful enough to make birth control once again a contested issue, though decidedly losing the battle against gay rights. The only democrats getting into the white house have to be centrists, though they can afford some liberal leanings on social issues. Now I know some on the right frequently call Obama a radical ultra-left socialist and the second coming of Joseph Stalin, meanwhile the real socialists in Europe are laughing their assess off and are pretty sure Obama's not one of them. I'm also fairly certain that in 2016 America will elect another Republican president. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2011/0731/America-s-big-shift-right And the persecution that I do actually get is getting just as old, as is the saying that it is a persecution complex. (I've been turned down for jobs quite obviously for not being a Democrat, and that is persecution) I can't comment on this.
  3. How about the freedom to not have everything I say in a phone call or e-mail monitored... (that was ruled as covered under the 4th Amendment, and is being violated thoroughly by the NSA right now) Or have my metadata collected so that someone can know more about my life and preferences than I decide to make public. http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment and http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv (section 1) and https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/01/effs-game-plan-ending-global-mass-surveillance Freedom of religion is suppressed in almost every school (including government-run public schools) and college campus in the USA. (and you frequently can get harassed if you aren't a democrat that is pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, and anti-gun) http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment Those are two that have directly affected me in recent years, but that doesn't mean that I don't care about the MANY other violations that have taken place. They don't have to affect me directly right now for it to be wrong, and make me want to stop it. (and there are many who feel the same way) You're right about the 4th amendment stuff. But I have to take issue with your other points here. It's a common narrative in conservative circles that because teachers and school officials aren't allowed to proselytize their captive impressionable audience, religion is suppressed in schools. Not being able to use the government to impose religion on people whether they want to or not is not the same as being oppressed. Students can pray, read their holy books and even wear t-shirts with anti-gay messages on them and be protected by the first amendment (here's the pinko-commie ACLU defending a student's right to do just that http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/nyregion/aclu-says-antigay-shirt-ban-at-connecticut-school-was-illegal.html) schools do sometimes overreact yes and this IS a problem, this is mostly due to the staff not having a clear understanding on the first amendment on this issue. I really wish school administrators received some better education on this, it's not too complicated. I've been quite amused the recent years by conservative christians howling about how they are so oppressed because they're no longer able to use the government to impose their religious values on everyone else as effectively as they used to. Even though religious exemptions continue to exist for a lot of legislation. It mostly seems to stem from the fact that government employees and business owners who serve the public aren't allowed to discriminate against those icky gay people anymore, because not being allowed to discriminate against others is itself the worst oppression imaginable. Just like in the civil rights era, they'll eventually get over it. In addition, having your opinions criticized by other private citizens isn't a violation of your rights. Sometimes you'll find yourself in a place where your opinions are unpopular. I doubt I'd be very popular if I were a gay pro-ssm pro-choice anti-gun socialist atheist in Alabama or something. I do admit that with the resurgence of the P.C. movement certain elements on the left have become obsessed with ideological purity as much as their extremist peers on the right have. But other elements of the left are already pushing back (Jonathan Chait published a great piece on that a little while ago. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/01/not-a-very-pc-thing-to-say.html?mid=nymag_press) However, conservatism is an extremely powerful force in American Politics, the American public has been shifting a good deal to the right since the eighties. The persecution complex is getting really old.
  4. People in general aren't very good at assessing risk. We focus on dangers that are high-profile, mostly because of media attention, but are still pretty rare. While we ignore the dangers that are so frequent they have become commonplace and are thus part of every day life. It's why Americans freaked the hell out over Ebola, but aren't too worked up about obesity, or the resurgence of measles for that matter.
  5. I would expect having even more guns around would greatly increase the chances of accidents and personal conflicts with deadly outcome though. And I think I know why you said there should be at least 3 people around. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/15/texas-gun-group-charlie-hebdo-paintball Of course it's hardly a scientific experiment.
  6. No it isn't, as the US government is gearing up in a way it never has before for a war with it's citizens. It is currently in the 'popular support' phase, where they try to get as many people as possible to give up their freedoms willingly, and get as many people as possible to support the removal of any restrictions on the government doing what it wants. Your statement implies that you think, that I think, that they wouldn't even make an attempt to hide the fact that they are turning into a totalitarian regime. (which is not even close to reality) I think we're well on the way towards one anyways, and the government does too. They're preparing to make either a first strike, or to make the most powerful counterstrike they can. If they make a first strike, they can blame it on intel they gathered from the NSA about a massive coordinated terrorist assault on the country. (the military would likely accept that reason for the first 3-6 months) If a counterstrike, they would probably bill it as a massive coordinated terrorist assault on the country, and implement martial law, then keep it in place 'to make sure they got all of the terrorists'. (we were very close to doing that right after 9/11) So, any idea when this will happen BTG? I'm asking because I think this "tyrannical government takeover" narrative has been around since at least the early 90s and may even go back as far as the John Birch society in the 50s and 60s. I regularly keep tabs on the dire predictions coming out of the far-right, but they never seem to come true. Never seems to faze these people though, they just ignore the failed prediction and move on to the next one. So what's the time frame on this, 5 years? 10 years? 25? 50?
  7. okay, so FEMA's coming to take all the guns, for what purpose? And when will this happen?
  8. I actually took a few moments to watch the Alex Jones youtube clip you posted. There's no real indication judging on the footage alone when and where that was taken. For all I know it could've been taken at the weekly meeting of the tinfoil hat brigade where the next topic of discussion was how to stop the army of 100 million communist muslims currently amassing in Mexico that Obama will bring in after declaring martial law and canceling the 2016 elections. And also, I'm not sure you should be listening to Alex Jones. Hear me out on this. I think he's part of a government black flag operation to discredit conspiracy theories, it makes perfect sense. As soon as most people see Alex Jones' name attached to a story they roll their eyes and dismiss it as just more rambling from a rambling lunatic. It's so brilliant and sneaky it has to be true.
  9. I'm not entirely sure America has a gun problem, I'm also equally unsure it doesn't have a gun problem. However, with one bloody massacre after another I am fairly sure America has a violent murderous nutjob problem. That said, surely it can't be a bad idea to keep lethal weapons like firearms, which make it very easy to quickly kill many people, out of the hands of people who have mental problems. But if the U.S. can't even pass legislation that calls for more background checks right after a classroom full of children got gunned down it's simply never going to happen. So relax gunfondlers, stop stroking your barrels while checking for black helicopters over your house and communists under your bed, the big bad black man isn't coming for your guns anytime soon. Gun manufacturers love it when there are democrats in office, make no mistake. But far be it from me to suggest those with ties to the industry purposefully spread fear and paranoia to this exact effect, no sir-ee, not me, never. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/gun-industry-thrives-obama-article-1.1187506 Personally, I do feel a lot safer that around here very, very few people could be packing heat. But I recognize there are countries where there are both a lot of guns, and few, if any, spree killings. Switzerland for example.
  10. I'm usually abhorred by the current US surveillance state, and then someone like our rocket propelled friend comes along to demonstrate that yeah, maybe someone should keep an eye on certain people before they go on a murder spree. And I'm serious here RPG, you think violence is glorious and you seem to have a serious empathy problem. It might not be a bad idea for you to talk to a mental health professional as well, I know there's a huge social stigma on that and is often considered insulting but better safe than sorry. People make their own meaning of life, you may think senseless bloodshed is the ultimate meaning in life, but you'll find that a vast majority of people prefer that you leave them out of it.
  11. I'm not sure where you get your news and information RPG, but I can take a guess seeing as how you refer to the current administration as socialist fascists and you're itching for some kind of violent uprising. If you do get your information from the far-right noise machine keep in mind they may have both a financial and ideological interest in making people afraid and angry. The religious-right for example is particularly good at this, their fund-raising e-mails usually contain stuff like " OBAMA PLAN TO FORCE YOUR CHILDREN TO BECOME SOCIALIST HOMOSEXUALS! " It doesn't matter to them that it's a lie, but it opens the pocket books. It's fascinating to watch the far-right media sound the alarm that communism and the fema concentration camps are coming along side ads of survivalist gear, guns and bogus investment opportunities in gold. So take a step back, calm down, it's a country of 300 million people who all have the same right as you do to express in which direction they want to take the country. Because honestly it sounds like you want to take drastic action and people may get hurt. There's always the option to build a nice cabin in the woods and go off-grid and let the world go crazy on its own, something for you perhaps? Given your aversion to technology.
  12. Hah, good to know we can always send you off to toil in the quote mines and bring us our rhetorical gold. Now that I've listened to it again, I actually like the whole bullet speech, thanks
  13. Thanks for the suggestion, I'm going to have a look! Edit: it looks pretty sweet, I think I'll pick it up as soon as I have some disposable income and time
  14. I know nobody has touched this topic in 7 months, I know! But I freakin loved this game, played it a lot back in the day. I did really enjoy the first half of the single player, as optimusjamie pointed out the initial mystery and the subsequent man-on-the-run part of the plot are great and after that I got the feeling the writer(s) ran out of ideas and it became a cliché with a kind of shit ending. I started out on the vanilla multi-player but the mods made the game a lot better. I thoroughly enjoyed the evolutions mod and the server I played on had their own more polished version of that mod. Eventually I lost interest though. I did come back to the game about 8 months ago and replayed the single player, which re-kindled my interest in this kind of game. Right now I'm thinking of picking up Elite: Dangerous and or Star Citizen. Would still love to see a Freelancer 2 though.
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